The book begins with one of the characters (Nick Lennox) checking himself into a hotel in Cheung Chau. Because the hotel in question doesn’t allow people to stay on their own (due to the high number of suicides) he checks in under his own name and his wife’s, stating she’ll be along later. He then goes on to commit suicide, or does he? It’s a dramatic start to the book.
Hong Kong Rocks follows a group of friends facing deportation from Hong Kong, for several reasons. The author, Peter Humphreys, mixes reality with fiction to create this story, and the two blend seamlessly together.
Although I’ve never been to Hong Kong, the writing and description made me it easy to visualise. Of course, I can’t say how much of it was fact and which parts were created by the author. It felt believable, which is what you hope for when reading a book, whatever the plot and however far-fetched it could be in real life.
Although the main characters were all males, there were some strong female characters in the background who held a lot of sway, and the book wouldn’t have had the same charisma without them. They are the ones who strive to help the men and try to stop them from going too far in their madcap adventures.
The book itself is a mixture of genres; including crime, comedy and action. While it’s unlikely to be my favourite book I read this year, there’s a lot to enjoy, and it was also a finalist in the Proverse Prize 2018.
The only downside for me was that there seemed to be pages where nothing, or very little happened, then if I didn’t pay close attention, I would miss the “blink-and-you’ll miss-it” moments and find myself in a completely different setting or scene in the book, having to read back over a page or more sometimes to get a better understanding of what just happened.
Review by Amanda Steel, co-host of Reading in Bed on Anchor, and the author of Ghost of Me, which was a top 10 finalist in the 2020 Author Elite Awards.